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Archive for June, 2009

A-Rod’s admission that he did steroids came after someone leaked the fact that his name was on a should-have-been confidential list of the 104 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003 to Sports Illustrated. This test occurred when baseball was doing anonymous testing to see if drug testing was needed in baseball.

Rotoinfo.com has posted a purported, UNCONFIRMED, and I stress that, list of who the other 103 names are. The list, which can be found here, is as follows:

1.Nomar Garciaparra
2.Manny Ramirez
3.Johnny Damon
4.Trot Nixon
5.David Ortiz
6.Shea Hillenbrand
7.Derek Lowe
8.Pedro Martinez
9.Brian Roberts
10.Jay Gibbons
11.Melvin Mora
12.Jerry Hairston
13.Jason Giambi
14.Alfonso Soriano
15.Raul Mondesi
16. Aaron Boone
17.Andy Pettitte
18.Jose Contreras
19.Roger Clemens
20.Carlos Delgado
21.Vernon Wells
22.Frank Catalanotto
23.Kenny Rogers
24.Magglio Ordonez
25.Sandy Alomar
26.Bartolo Colon
27.Brent Abernathy
28.Jose Lima
29.Milton Bradley
30.Casey Blake
31.Danys Baez
32.Craig Monroe
33.Dmitri Young
34.Alex Sanchez
35.Eric Chavez
36.Miguel Tejada
37.Eric Byrnes
38.Jose Guillen
39.Keith Foulke
40.Ricardo Rincon
41.Bret Boone
42.Mike Cameron
43.Randy Winn
44.Ryan Franklin
45.Freddy Garcia
46.Rafael Soriano
47.Scott Spiezio
48.Troy Glaus
49.Francisco Rodriguez
50.Ben Weber
51.Alex Rodriguez
52.Juan Gonzalez
53.Rafael Palmeiro
54.Carl Everett
55.Javy Lopez
56.Gary Sheffield
57.Mike Hampton
58.Ivan Rodriguez
59.Derrek Lee
60.Bobby Abreu
61.Terry Adams
62.Fernando Tatis
63.Livan Hernandez
64.Hector Almonte
65.Tony Armas
66.Dan Smith
67.Roberto Alomar
68.Cliff Floyd
69.Roger Cedeno
70.Jeromy Burnitz
71.Moises Alou
72.Sammy Sosa
73.Corey Patterson
74.Carlos Zambrano
75.Mark Prior
76.Kerry Wood
77.Matt Clement
78.Antonio Alfonseca
79.Juan Cruz
80.Aramis Ramirez
81.Craig Wilson
82.Kris Benson
83.Richie Sexson
84.Geoff Jenkins
85.Valerio de los Santos
86.Benito Santiago
87.Rich Aurilia
88.Barry Bonds
89.Andres Galarraga
90.Jason Schmidt
91.Felix Rodriguez
92.Jason Christiansen
93.Matt Herges
94.Paul Lo Duca
95.Shawn Green
96.Oliver Perez
97.Adrian Beltre
98.Eric Gagne
99.Guillermo Mota
100.Luis Gonzalez
101.Todd Helton
102.Ryan Klesko
103.Gary Matthews

My take: It’s probably false — but hey, TMZ.com was hated by a lot of people in Hollywood and they got the Michael Jackson passing before anyone so you never know.

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NHL: QU Goes to the Draft

I love when I have the opportunity to give a shoutout to my fellow bloggers and I am honored that this time it is also one of my Quinnipiac colleagues.

Travis Hughes of the Philadelphia Flyers’ blog Broad Street Hockey had the honor and privileged of going to the NHL Draft in Montreal as a credentialed member of the media. He got to take in all the sights and sounds and interview dignitaries all during the draft.

So go over there and enjoy the readings. It’s great stuff.

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While the NFL took a major step this past season by making the amount of time alloted to teams for making picks in the first round of the draft shorter, they need to go one step further.

Tonight’s NBA draft has selection times at 4 minutes. It gives teams a perfect amount of time to make their selection, gives ESPN the right amount of time to talk about the previous pick and set the next one up, and keeps up a good rhythm for the fans.

Yes, the NFL went to 10 minutes for the first round starting this past year, but they need to go further. The teams don’t need 10 minutes, and 4-5 minutes is plenty good enough to please all parties involved.

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Here’s my lineup for the Travelers Championship:

A: Kenny Perry (Backup: Kevin Na)
B: Brian Gay (Backup: Steve Marino)
B: Zach Johnson (Backup: David Toms)
C: Charlie Wi (Backup: Harrison Frazar)

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Well, after all the attention surrounding last week’s US Open, we move onto this week’s PGA Tour event, the Travelers Championship in Hartford. This event has been around since 1952 and always gets a good field. Stewart Cink is the defending champion.

TV Coverage is Thursday-Friday 3-6pm ET on Golf Channel and Saturday-Sunday, Live, 3-6pm ET on CBS.

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The Yankees and Cablevision are the first team-cable company partner to begin streaming games on the web. This stuff is complicated, and I know there are readers out there who are interested in this, so here are the details:

Major League Baseball announced Wednesday it will launch this July a landmark pair of in-market subscription products, including Yankees on YES, to deliver live games online within their respective home broadcast territories. Upon launch, these will be the only live in-market streaming products in professional sports to include games with local broadcast television deals.

“These agreements are an important part of our global effort to give fans greater access to our game,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “It is important that fans in local markets have portable flexibility to stay connected to their favorite team if they can’t be at the ballpark, and I believe this represents a significant step in that direction.”

MLB Advanced Media, LP (MLBAM), the interactive media and internet company of Major League Baseball, has entered into a partnership with the YES Network and Cablevision to provide eligible Cablevision customers throughout the Yankees home broadcasting territory with access to YES Network Yankees telecasts live on their computers. The offering, which will be implemented through an authentication process managed by Cablevision and MLBAM, will be available exclusively to Cablevision customers who subscribe to the Family Cable (expanded basic) level of television service and Optimum Online.

The Yankees on YES package, available for a one-time fee of $49.95 for the remainder of the season or $19.95 for any 30-day period, is scheduled to launch on Wednesday, July 8 at 8 p.m. (ET) with the YES Network’s Yankees-Twins broadcast. Beginning immediately, eligible Cablevision subscribers can review FAQs for the product and purchase Yankees on YES at Yankees.com, YESNetwork.com and Optimum.net.

Major League Baseball became the first professional sports league to make every game available online for out-of-market fans in 2003 and since that time has delivered over 250 million live video streams. It now is also the first to make this number of live games available online for fans living in a home team territory such as the Yankees.

A second in-market live game streaming product is expected to be announced the week of June 29.

For those that have further questions, there is an FAQ on the matter here.

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Bruce’s longtime manager Jon Landau released a statement on the continuing controversy involving themselves and Ticketmaster. While I’ll hold most of my opinion out of this, I do think this kind of a response may not have been warranted. But they gave it, so I’ll post it:

Somehow, a new flurry of interest has been created around Thrill Hill’s ticket holds for the recent Izod Center shows. These are the same shows that became such a subject of controversy when they went on sale on February 2nd. The new theory is that Bruce’s holds were the problem on February 2nd, and not Ticketmaster’s already acknowledged failures on that day. But the truth is that Bruce’s holds had nothing to do at all with the breakdown of Ticketmaster’s system.

These are the undisputed facts about February 2nd. On that morning, when our fans went to buy their Bruce and Band tickets for the face value of $95, they were in many cases immediately linked to Ticketmaster’s wholly owned ticket reselling company TicketsNow, where prices were many times higher than $95. We call this “bait and switch.” As a result, an undetermined but large amount of money flowed into TicketsNow (and eventually Ticketmaster) even though there were still tickets at normal prices yet to be made available on Ticketmaster. We perceived this to have been a major abuse of our fans, complained about it mightily, and added that because of behavior like this, the pending merger of the number one ticketing company and number one management company (both owned by Ticketmaster) with the number one venue owner and operator (Live Nation) might not be such a hot idea.

How do we know that all this is true?

1. On February 2nd, when the ticket fiasco occurred, Ticketmaster’s CEO wrote to Bruce, myself, and our fans to generously apologize, which apology we promptly and graciously posted on our site. The letter stated that the problem was the product of an inexplicable “glitch.”

2. The volume of complaints received by New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram exceeded anything ever experienced before and she ultimately secured a consent degree from Ticketmaster, in which they promised that some of their practices (“glitches”) with regard to its sister company TicketsNow will never be repeated.

3. The CEO of Ticketmaster openly testified as to their responsibility for these “glitches” in front of Committees of Congress.

Based on all of the above, we can safely conclude that on February 2nd, Ticketmaster transferred legitimate requests for tickets at face value over to their TicketsNow site, where they could charge people hundreds and hundreds more dollars for the same ticket. The amount of additional profit generated by scalper type prices through this now famous “glitch” remains unknown. Whether this was merely an extremely profitable “glitch” for Ticketmaster/TicketsNow or something else, we have no way of knowing.

Last Sunday, June 14, the Newark Star Ledger ran an article entitled “Springsteen withheld best tickets from the public at NJ concert, records show.” This is the same article that the Star Ledger runs whenever we do a few indoor shows in New Jersey. It suggested that we were in someway responsible for the Ticketmaster/TicketsNow problem. On Thursday, June 18, Hits Magazine ran a summary of this article, On Friday, June 19, Ticketmaster’s Chairman attacked Bruce personally in the New York Post, in an article called “Ticket Blitzkrieg.” In this article, Ticketmaster’s Chairman deploys by implication Ticketmaster’s new line: despite their apology, despite the consent decree with Attorney General Milgram, and despite their testimony in Congress, the ticket catastrophe was actually Bruce’s fault.

Of course, the only thing wrong with the Chairman’s spin is that it’s flatly untrue. He is merely using the time honored tradition of blowing smoke to distract attention away from Ticketmaster’s already acknowledged responsibility for their “glitches” on February 2nd, the on-sale date of the two Izod Center shows.

Now lets talk a little about Thrill Hill’s ticket practices. Perhaps the first thing to be said is that when we play New Jersey, our fans know that we are usually going to do more than two indoor shows in order to ensure, among other things, that during the course of a tour, Springsteen tickets will be plentiful so as many fans as possible will have a chance to get great seats (hence the five upcoming shows at Giants Stadium.) As our fans also know, we have kept all of our tickets under $100 and do all that we can to ensure that as many as possible are sold at face value.

Yes, we do hold significant numbers of tickets when we play New Jersey, New York and Los Angeles, as does every arena headliner. These holds are used by Bruce, his band members, and longtime members of his extended organization, their families and close relations; by the record label for their staff, for reviewers, and for radio stations; by charities who are provided with tickets for fund raising purposes, such as special auctions; for service people who help us on a year-round basis; and for other similar purposes. Unlike some Ticketmaster managed artists, no tickets are held for high dollar resale on TicketsNow, or through any other means.

Where are the Bruce holds? The 2,000 to 3,500 tickets closest to the stage are on the floor and more than 95% of them go to the public, making the basic premise of the Star Ledger headline inaccurate. Secondly, with regard to seats held in the best sections on either side, we always blend guest seats with fan seats so that there are never any sections consisting entirely of guest seats.

In addition, it is well known that we sometimes release a significant number of excellent tickets on the day of the show at the box office, which can only be bought with direct entrance to the venue. It’s known as the “drop.” Many think that is done on purpose to help combat the scalpers who prey on fans at the last minute. That is a good thought.

(Also, in connection with the Izod Center shows in particular, we released some of our holds to Attorney General Milgram to go into the lottery she created to help deal with people who were penalized by the Ticketmaster/TicketsNow “glitch” on February 2nd.)

Those are our ticket practices, as they have evolved over more than 30 years of experience. Does anyone seriously imagine that any element of these practices caused Ticketmaster to redirect ticket requests to TicketsNow for the Izod Center shows? What would our incentive have been? It’s not we who earned vastly larger sums when fans paid way over the face value of the tickets. It was Ticketmaster/TicketsNow.

Final thoughts: We have no interest in having an ongoing conflict with Ticketmaster/TicketsNow or anyone else. That has not been part of our history. And it is generally not our purpose to spend time on this site on matters of this kind. But we do get upset when we see fans being taken advantage of, as they were on February 2nd. So, when that stuff stops happening (and the Ticketmaster/TicketsNow problems surrounding our recent show in Washington D.C. shows that these issues are far from resolved) we will stop complaining. And when the facts cease to be misrepresented, we will stop explaining.

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